DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings invited President Barack Obama to Dallas to participate in and deliver remarks at an interfaith memorial service being held at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in honor of the the fallen police officers who lost their lives last week.
Mayor Rawling arrived at The Meyerson early and spoke with CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King about the Dallas Police Department, its leader Chief David Brown and what lies ahead for the City of Dallas.
King said one shooting survivor told her that residents are not defined by the shooting that happened in Dallas and the shooting does not reflect how people feel about their police department. In response, Mayor Rawlings said, “Sometimes it takes a bright light to shine on you to understand what you really are… sometimes good, but I tell you I feel all about the good things that are happening in this city. People are telling me — citizens, neighbors, [and] people from other places — saying Dallas is showing well and we hope we mourn the way America would like us to mourn.”
When asked what kind of City Dallas is and what kind of city it wants to be Rawlings said, “I think we want to be a city for the 21st century, a city that is growing, It’s base is business, that creates jobs for everybody, that closes the economic gap that we have, that closes the education gap that we have, that is strong and safe. There’s a lot of work to be done… make sure that faith community always is there. We’re well on our way and hopefully if anything comes out of these officer’s deaths hopefully it will be us getting closer to that vision.”
In addition to speaking at the Interfaith service today, President Obama will also meet privately with the families of the fallen police officers and those who were injured to “personally express the nation’s support and gratitude for their service and sacrifice.”
The President recently had a private meeting with members of law enforcement where leaders said they did not think he was supportive of their concerns. Mayor Rawlings disagreed with that sentiment. He said, “I’ve talked to the President and he has reached out a couple of times. I was at a U.S. conference of mayors meeting where he spoke about it as well. He’s told me that the words that come out of leaders [mouths] are important and we’ve got to always believe we can do better. But it’s gotta start with our self-esteem as a police force and understand that 99-percent of what they do is what we want and that we’re proud of them. Sometimes people hear what they want to hear in those conversations.”
Since the events last Thursday Chief David Brown has been a prominent face and voice for the city. During a press conference Monday afternoon he urged people to “Get off that protest line and put an application in.” Mayor Rawlings said that was sage advice. “That’s the sort of hero that we need. He likened our police officers to super heroes last night and I agree with him,” he aid. “We can decent without demonizing and I think we’ve demonized our police force for too long and we have to stop that. We will always get better… but we have to salute them [police] because as we’ve seen they do die for us.”
Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani called the Black Lives Matter movement “inherently racist,” while organizers an participants say that is completely untrue and said they care deeply about police officers.
Mayor Rawlings doesn’t have the same opinion about group participants and protestors, but hopes the opinion about police officers improves with everyone. “Our police officers died for [demonstrators in the] Black Lives Matter movement. We were there protecting those individuals. That is not a racist organization,” he said. “They’re trying to do better but I ask everybody to start at the level playing ground [knowing] that our police are there to serve them and to serve everyone.”
Tuesday’s memorial will be closed to public so that all space can be reserved for police officers. The entire service will be streamed live on CBSDFW.COM and any person in downtown Dallas who doesn’t have access to a computer or television can watch CBS 11 News coverage of the memorial service on a big screen television at Klyde Warren Park beginning at 11 a.m.
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